Thursday, May 23, 2013

California Stem Cell Agency to Court Patient Groups This Summer

Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the California stem cell agency, said this morning that he and a team from the agency will begin a round of meetings this summer with patient advocate groups throughout the state.

He said the effort is aimed at keeping the groups up to speed on developments at CIRM. While Thomas did not mention it to the agency's governing board, it is also critical that the agency have strong support from patient advocate groups as it tries to develop new sources of funding, either public or private.

The agency will run out of cash for new grants in 2017 and hopes to have a plan for the future before the board later this year. Its initial assumptions include as much as $200 million in onetime public funding with more cash coming from the private sector.

Currently the agency is funded by state bonds at a cost of about $6 billion, including interest. It spends roughly $300 million a year on grants and loans for research.

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